DUCKERS, Elmer Cotton and Celebrations are three long-established Turl Street businesses which have shut up shop in recent years.

Now, the owners of historic jeweller Rowell of Oxford, which dates back to 1797, have also taken the decision to close and the shop will serve customers for the last time on Christmas Eve.

Since 1797 Rowell of Oxford has served jewellery to both town and gown.

It has produced jewels for royalty, a tea set for former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and regalia for the city’s Lord Mayors.

READ AGAIN: Boswells in Oxford set to close next year

But a lack of footfall in the city centre has led to the owners taking the sad decision to close - in the same week that department store Boswells announced it would be closing in 2020.

Oxford Mail:

Co-owner Stephan Pritchard, 65, who runs the business with Mary Faulkner, has worked at the shop for 44 years.

He said: “It’s very sad that the shop is shutting after all these years but it’s the right time for us to go.

“Unfortunately the footfall in Turl Street has been disappearing because there aren’t so many well-known shops along here now.

Oxford Mail:

“The shoe shop Duckers was very well known and people liked the sports shop Elmer Cotton and and Celebrations the joke shop but they have all gone.

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“There’s a very nice new cafe but that doesn’t necessarily bring shoppers.

“Our lease is up for renewal next year with landlords Lincoln College and under the circumstances we would not want to renew it.”

Mr Pritchard, known as Stephen by customers, is originally from Scarborough, and has decided to move back to Yorkshire.

Oxford Mail:

He added: “I came to Oxford all those years ago and stayed but it’s time to move back.”

The shop owner said the business had managed to compete against online shopping because people wanted to visit to pick out their engagement ring or wedding ring.

He added: “Couples come into the shop because they want to look at the rings - you can’t really do that online.

Oxford Mail:

“If people buy their engagement rings here then they come back for their wedding rings and then other items for their home.

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“We want to thank all our loyal customers over the years - some of them have become good friends - I’ve even been on holiday with a few of them.

“Some customers have been close to tears because they are so used to dropping in for a chat.”

Mr Pritchard added that although customers came in to inspect rings and necklaces they would order glassware online direct from the manufacturer.

Oxford Mail:

“There’s not much you can do about it,”he added.

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“The high street is changing and I don’t think we will see the like of it again where businesses like Rowell and Boswells are in Oxford for hundreds of years.

“It’s definitely the end of an era and I know people will be sad to see us go.”

Oxford Mail:

Mr Pritchard said he was now deciding what would happen with memorabilia including old books and directories collected over the years.

All jewellery at the store is now on sale at half price.